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Everyday People

Vincent Van Gogh sold one painting during his lifetime, yet he continued to paint and sketch. He turned out over 1,000 drawings, 150 watercolors, and over 900 paintings which have influenced artists ever since. Even though he made no money in his work, it was his work that Van Gogh lived by.

 

Did that sound familiar? We wrote it for a post last year, Trust in Yourself, about perseverance and believing in yourself and what you do. Van Gogh’s story was the outlier among the examples we cited, people like Walt Disney, Fred Astaire, and Stephen King. They were told they had little or no talent, persevered and made themselves famous doing what they were told they couldn’t do. Someone took a chance, and their personal story changed for the better for them.

 

Van Gogh did not have that chance. As far as his fortunes went, he had no breakthrough. No benefactor gave him the benefit of the doubt. He toiled a lifetime and never felt the appreciation offered for, or acknowledgment of a job well done. Most of us are very much like him.

 

We are much like Van Gogh in that we spend our lifetimes doing the things we do, quite ably and quite successfully, and other than from family members and an occasional outsider, receive very little support or encouragement. But (and this is a big “but”) but we continue to do what we do because it makes us feel like we are contributing. It is our life that we live by. We may not be remembered 150 years after we die, and some may feel that unlike Van Gogh, our works will die with us, yet we still go to work every day, we still raise our families with passion, we still get excited over our energy for life.

 

There may be a chance that someone will notice us and give us a chance at immortality like Disney, or Astaire, or King. We may work in relative obscurity and be recognized for our achievements after we’ve left this world like Van Gogh, or Bach, or Melville. Most likely though, we will be famous within our circle of five and not far beyond those. And that’s okay. Again, it is our life we live by. Every day. For as many days as we have.

 

In a 2013 article for Wired magazine, American mathematician and author Samuel Arbesman noted the odds of being famous are 1 in 10,000. That means of the 8,019,876,189 people in the world, about 8,019,074,289 are everyday, non-famous people. Even with all those non-famous people running things, we seem to be doing well. Families are being raised. Work is being done. Recreation is happening. And even the extraordinary happens.

 

We may not be destined for fame, but it does not mean with are not destined to do great things. Most great things are done by everyday people. Everyday people who are good at what they do, and who believe in themselves. Some might say the extraordinary is done by the ordinary. In fact, basketball Hall of Famer Jim Valvano famously said, “Every single day, in every walk of life, ordinary people do extraordinary things.” We disagree. We do not disagree that extraordinary things happen every day. We disagree with the assumption that there are any ordinary people in the world. We believe and have said often and will continue to say, everybody is special. Everyday people do extraordinary things every day.

 

It takes a special person to work, to raise a family, to teach a future generation, or to lead others day and after day with little recognition. That is what we do. Logic then says we are special. Special everyday people doing extraordinary things every day.

 


Everyday People

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2 comentários


I love that we are special non-famous people who show up to do our best, who live out loud what they believe, and who contribute in whatever small way to the world. It's why choosing to live in the moment, smiling at those we encounter, having kind words for those who may not have heard them in a while, and offering help to whoever needs it matters. We matter. God says so. Thanks for the gracious reminder of individual value, my friend.

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Oh yes Dayle, you get it! Live in the moment, do your best, be kind, contribute, and the ultimate special contribution, live out loud. Be proud of being special and let everyone know they too are special every day! 

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